With a last lap pass, Johnny O’Connell won the opening GT race of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway in the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R. K-PAX Racing’s Austin Cindric led from pole position, but was not able to hold off O’Connell’s late-race charge to the front. The McLaren driver finished second, just ahead of O’Connell’s Cadillac Racing team mate, Michael Cooper in the No. 8 Cadillac.
After winning his second GT career pole, Cindric hustled his McLaren 650S GT3 to a small lead ahead of O’Connell, who gained a position after starting third. O’Connell maintained the gap to the lead for a large majority of the event.
Championship contender and K-PAX teammate, Alvaro Parente, started on the outside of Row 1, but was shuffled back to fourth early on. He ended up missing the podium by one spot finishing ahead of championship rival, Patrick Long, who ended his day in eighth.
In GTA, Michael Schein, beat championship leader Martin Fuentes to the checkered in his Porsche 911 GT3.R. Fuentes started in the class pole position, but was not able to keep Schein behind. Fuentes’ Ferrari 458 outpaced series newcomer, Cooper MacNeil, who finished on the final step of the class podium. Fuentes also captured the GTA Championship with his second place, culminated through nine wins throughout the season.
The third K-PAX McLaren, Colin Thomspon, experienced a cut tire and retired from the race, finishing last. Also having issues was Preston Calvert in the No. 77 GT Cup entry. He experienced several off-track incidents, including making contact with a barrier.
Alec Udell continued his strong season in GT Cup as he led from flag to flag in his No. 17 GMG entry. Sloan Urry followed the championship leader to finish second in class and was followed by Mike Hedlund.
Race 2 for the GT, GTA, and GT Cup starts tomorrow at 4:15 PM Eastern with the GTS field taking the green today at 7:50 PM. Blackdog Speed Shop driver, Lawson Aschenbach is racing from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to Sonoma Raceway after taking part in today’s Lone Star Le Mans, in an attempt to make the start of the GTS event.